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Manhattan Institute

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Debating Health Reform: The Pre-existing Condition Problem

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Debating Health Reform: The Pre-existing Condition Problem

October 16, 2012
Health PolicyOther

Whether Americans with pre-existing conditions will be able to qualify for health insurance at a reasonable price without the benefit of new provisions contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, so called Obamacare, has emerged as a major issue in the presidential campaign. This paper analyzes both the effectiveness and the long term consequences of the approach to pre-existing conditions under Obamacare and contrasts it with the consequences of the alternative replacement plan proposed by Republican challenger Mitt Romney. It finds that, although the Obamacare approach guarantees coverage in the short term, it poses long term risks to the U.S. health care system. In contrast, the Romney approach holds the potential to solve the pre-existing condition problem by offering inexpensive individual insurance plans, and deals with problems faced by those who may currently lack insurance due to pre-existing conditions by extending and reforming current federal rules.

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